Opal Jessica Bogdan

Opal Jessica Bogdan

BALLSTON SPA — Town officials heard from two-dozen local residents regarding entering a building moratorium at their meeting Tuesday evening.

Proposed Local Law 2 of 2020 would establish a moratorium on certain developments in the town. A moratorium is a delay or suspension of an activity or a law.

“This proposal is temporary and allows us to take a good look and get a grasp on what we have and where we want to go and how we want to get there,” Eric Connolly, town supervisor, said.

According to the proposed law, the town board expressed concerns regarding potential impacts on certain developments. 

“We understand that some developers or applicants object to the proposed moratorium but we believe that this is the direction that a majority of the constituents wants us to pursue,” Connolly said.

The moratorium would allow officials to update the Comprehensive Plan, which was last updated in 2005. They also plan to revise the zoning and subdivision regulations to be consistent with the soon-to-be-updated comprehensive plan. 

Over 24 residents spoke during the public hearing while others sent letters in. Most agreed with passing the moratorium, saying large apartment and condo developments should be included as well. 

Ballston Lake resident Kathy Wilcox said she agrees with the moratorium and feels that since she moved to the area 26 years ago, vast amounts of farmland has been filled with high density buildings such as apartment complexes.

“I would like to express my agreement with the moratorium being imposed. This is long overdue and sorely needed. We must control the growth our town has experienced…” Wilcox said.

Resident Don Dudley spoke against the moratorium during the public hearing, expressing concerns over an indoor tennis facility he planned to build. Dudley said this project has been in the works for the past seven years. The 2.8-acre lot on route 50 in the Town of Ballston is where he planned to put the indoor tennis facility, but is worried he cant move forward with the project if the moratorium is passed.

“Unfortunately my son was killed in a car accident in August of 2011 and after that I founded the tennis foundation in his honor,” Dudley said. “My concerns are it would be heartbreaking to not be able to move forward and continue with our project.”

Prior to the public hearing, Connolly announced that written comments will be accepted until March 31. If adopted, the law will take effect within 30 days after the public hearing and operate until Jan. 2, 2021. 

“The board will carefully consider all of the written and verbal public comments received,” Connolly said.

The following statement may be attributed to The Wesley Community Chief Executive Officer Brian Nealon:

“The Wesley Community has taken immediate proactive measures as a result of the health threat posed by coronavirus (COVID-19) to our older adult population. We want to emphasize that we do not have any cases of coronavirus at Wesley Health Care Center and have not quarantined any individuals, including staff, at this time.

“Based on the most recent recommendations from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, The Wesley Community has made the prudent decision to discontinue all non-essential visits to the Wesley Health Care Center, effective immediately until further notice. We have decided to take this necessary measure to preclude the spread of coronavirus to our highly vulnerable residents and the dedicated staff who care for them.

“This new policy will include visits by family members. Visitors will only be allowed into the facility if deemed essential or for end-of-life situations. Since family interaction is an important component to the well-being of our residents, alternative means of communicating with loved ones are being implemented, including the use of video conferencing.

“Staff and visitors granted access will be required to go through a mandatory screening process by a trained employee for potential exposure or symptoms.

“We do not take these decisions lightly and we understand the importance of family and friends visiting. These new policies are based on the guidance we have received from the leading national health agencies.

“We are closely monitoring the situation and following recommended guidelines from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, New York State Department of Health and Saratoga County Public Health Services. We will continue to work closely with these health agencies as matters continue to evolve.”

Thursday, 12 March 2020 11:15

Bubbling Up Saratoga

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Those looking to start their own in-home fermentation can look no further than Saratoga Zymurgist.

Saratoga Zymurgist offers a full service home-brewing and winemaking shop. Priding themselves on being experts in fermentation, customers can not only find the materials for fermenting, but will learn the science as well.

“We’re here to teach and educate for a hobby,” owner and zymurgist Reed Antis said.

A zymurgist is an individual who studies the science of fermentation. Antis said he started as a home brewer who became involved with the hobby over time. After serving for a few years as a certified beer judge in competitions, Antis took ownership of the store with his wife, Mary Antis.

Reed Antis said the store started in the early 90’s on Broadway, which later moved to Phila Street. The company was then sold to Eddy’s Beverage Inc. who in 2009 reached out to Antis to see if he wanted to take the business over. In 2010 Antis said he purchased the business and hasn’t worked a day since.

“I don’t consider this work,” Antis said. “Most of my time is educating. I’ve been nicknamed the professor because I’m constantly training someone to learn [fermentation].”

Antis encourages anyone looking to make beer at home, wine at home, or anything with fermentation at home to stop by the store. Offering wine kits and beer kits, the store also holds items to brew hard cider, mead, kombucha, cheese and vinegar. The store offers a wide variety of yeast to ferment with, which Antis said varies depending on what is being fermented.

“My job is to really find out what you need... what are you trying to ferment,” Antis said.

When a customer walks into the store, Antis said he asks what they are looking for. If they are looking to make grape wine, they have kits with all the ingredients to create a six-gallon batch of wine. He said hard cider is the most popular, followed by country wine, which is a wine made with any kind of fruit, besides grapes. Antis said fermenting honey, also known as mead, is also popular.

“The procedures are pretty much the same going through and the steps are pretty much the same but I target it with what type of wine they want to make,” Antis said. “Once they get the hang of it they can easily move over to ferment something else because they already have the skillset to make this, so they just transfer those skills over.”

Self-taught, through books and seminars, the art of homebrewing, Antis ensures each customer feels confident with the art of fermenting each time they leave the store.

“When someone comes back and says ‘hey that worked’ then I’ve done my job communicating. I learned that I have to hone my skills as a communicator to each individual and how they can absorb information,” Antis said.

In addition, Antis said his favorite thing to say is “assume nothing.” Because zymurgy is the science of fermentation, testing should be a priority rather than assuming or guessing. Antis said the hardest part is getting people to know where they are. Located in the corner adjacent to EBI Beverages, Antis said most people miss the arrow and flag they hang out to let people know they are there.

“In the City of Saratoga we have easy parking, easy reach off major roads, and no complaints,” Antis said.

For more experienced home brewers, the store offers different grains and a mill to grind the grains with. Once stepping into the fermenting world, Antis said each recipe is what makes the process interesting and different.

“You can play with it, put your own twist to it,” Antis said.

Thursday, 12 March 2020 11:10

iRun LOCAL Expands Saratoga Running Tours

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Starting this week, iRun LOCAL owner Jamie Mastroianni plans to expand their historic three mile running tour.

The Saratoga Running Tour was created to offer a unique and healthy way to visit historic destinations around the city. The idea started six years ago when Mastroianni opened shop. After consistently going back to that idea, she finally created the running tour group.

“I just kept thinking...this town is so cool wouldn’t it be neat to have a tour where people could go and see a couple different sites in a reasonable amount of time and have someone locally that can tell them where to go,” Mastroianni said.

Participants will be led on a three and a half mile sightseeing tour that totals one hour. The cost is $30 per person, but Mastroianni said they do offer group discounts. At first, she picked dates when the tour would be offered, but Mastroianni said people started coming in to request them. Since then she aims to create the tours as the demands happen.

“Most of the time the tours happened because someone walked in and said ‘we’re here on vacation or here for a convention; could you take us on a tour,” Mastroianni said.

The tour would start on Broadway at the store and run to places such as the old arts district on Beekman Street, the racetrack and East Avenue.

“We talk about the railroads and how the railroads got started,” Mastroianni said. “The visitor center used to be a drinking center for all the water reservoirs and all the different springs. There used to be a tasting room in there.”

Because the tour is only an hour-long, hitting all of the historic destinations proves difficult, but Mastroianni said the tours could be customized. The tour could be shortened or lengthened, or a walk and not a run. However, Mastroianni said it’s the best way to see Saratoga in a limited amount of time.

This past Tuesday, Mastroianni met with the Saratoga Springs Downtown Business Association to present her running tour as a service that iRun LOCAL offers.

“So we can grow the tour, this is just the start of it,” Mastroianni said. In the future Mastroianni hopes to target bachelor and bachelorette parties as well as create more tours, like a brew tour, if the demand is there.

Mastroianni aims to bring dedication to assisting people of all different athletic abilities and help them meet their fitness goals while connecting with their local community. To do that, she plans to offer different events throughout this spring and summer. For one event, Mastroianni said they have a runner who leads their sunrise five miler that happens 5:30 a.m. on Thursdays during the warmer months.

The Ladies Run Squad, which happens on Tuesdays and Thursdays, is an eight-week training program to help develop running skills as well as learn about running in another event iRun LOCAL offers.

“We offer different classes throughout the year called the ‘I Run Healthy’ series. Every month we bring in a guest speaker,” Mastroianni said.

In February, an individual who competed in an Ironman came to the store and shared basic triathlon training and how to get started with the Ironman’s. In March, they will host a class on how to run trails and in April, they have a nutritionist coming in.

“We’re packing our events calendar pretty heavy this year. We are trying to make it a consistent event calendar so people know when we are having stuff and we can get the word out,” Mastroianni said. “Everything is open to anyone that wants to meet and connect with other people or be inspired by them.”

On March 19, they are hosting a happy hour fun run. It’s a free event where Mastroianni brings in one of their footwear manufacturers. They bring in demo shoes so participants can run in a pair of shoes that aren’t their own to try them out.

Thursday, 12 March 2020 10:54

Peddling for a Purpose

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Two police officers from the Saratoga Police Department will bike from Philadelphia to Washington D.C. to honor officers lost in the line of duty.

Officer Angela McGovern and Officer Caitlin Freshwater will bike an average of 280 miles for the Police Unity Tour. The tour started in 1997 to bring public awareness of law enforcement officers fallen during the line of duty and to honor their sacrifices.

“The purpose of the ride is to raise awareness for officers who have died in the line of duty and to also raise funding for the National Law Enforcement (NLE) memorial and the [NLE] museum,” McGovern said

This will be the third year McGovern will participate in the tour. She will bike to honor NYC detective Brian Simonsen, who was shot and killed last year. Freshwater is biking for her first year in memory of Sgt. James Carter, who was killed in 1978 by a drunken driver in Massachusetts.

“It’s a good experience,” McGovern said. “It’s a good challenge for me but it’s a good refresher every year of why I take this job because it can get overwhelming or you can be like ‘why am I doing this’ but it’s just a good reset button.”

McGovern discovered the tour when she started attending police week five years ago. Duringpoliceweek, she met with officers who had participated in the tour and knew she wanted to try it herself. She signed up for the tour three years ago when she worked for the City of Troy Police Department.

“It’s nice to have a thing for just us,” McGovern said.

Throughout the tour, bikers will stop along the way for breaks and for small ceremonies. McGovern said they have a motorcade escort and a supporter crew who goes ahead of the riders. The supporter crew helps by checking in the rider’s bags to the hotel for the night and by offering snacks and meals during breaks.

“We do a lot of ceremonies too. We ride by some places where officers have died or by some police stations or parks with memorials in them so we’ll stop at those along the way and do little ceremonies,” McGovern said.

In order to be a rider, McGovern said they have to be active or retired law enforcement or immediate family of a fallen officer in the line of duty.

“A lot of times we’re riding with survivors which is pretty cool,” McGovern said.

The tour will begin on May 9 and go until the 12, which McGovern said are always the dates no matter what day they fall on. She said May 13 is the kickoff for police week so all bikers have to be in Washington D.C. to start police week off with a candlelight vigil.

The vigil, which McGovern said is one of her favorite parts of police week, is a ceremony that gathers the family of fallen officers. Everyone is escorted to the National Mall and when night falls, the whole crowd lights candles.

“One person lights it and then you pass it and you just see the whole mall light up. It’s really moving and awesome to see... that’s my favorite,” McGovern said.

Police week is filled with events such as a 5k run, a parade with vintage police cars and an area called tent city where vendors set up with a bar and can enjoy live music. According to the Unity Police Tour website, the tour started with 18 riders and has since grown into nine chapters consisting of roughly 2500 members nationwide.

McGovern and Freshwater had to raise a minimum of $2000 or they get booted from the tour because it’s so popular. McGovern said registration opens early fall and within the first day there is a waitlist.

McGovern said donations could be made by check or online until April 1. They are also going to host a fundraiser on March 28 from 12-3 p.m. at Kings Tavern on Union Ave, Saratoga Springs.

“That’s the best way because the site doesn’t tell us who donates and it’s hard, I want to be able to thank everyone so the best way is to come to the fundraiser,” McGovern said.

Thursday, 12 March 2020 10:47

COVID-19

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Saratoga County takes preventative measures to tackle growing concerns over COVID-19.

SCHOOLS:
The Saratoga Springs School district prepared a statement Tuesday evening stating any developments with the COVID-19 are being closely monitored. The district is anticipating any needs in the event the novel coronavirus impacts the school. The district also sent a letter to families and staff.

“While the Saratoga Springs City School District does not have any confirmed cases of novel coronavirus, COVID-19, district officials are continuously working on gathering information from local, state and federal officials to monitor this situation,” Michael Patton, superintendent of the school said in the letter.

The school district has also taken precautions to disinfect the building and classrooms on a daily basis, including high use areas such as doorknobs, desks and walls. Surfaces are sprayed with a disinfectant sprayer and sanitizing wipes were distributed to staff.

“If the district becomes aware that one of our students or staff members is diagnosed with COVID-19, we will notify staff and parents/guardians through a SchoolMessenger phone call, email, and text message.  At this time, experts do not recommend that the school district cancel or reschedule classes or other school-related events occurring locally,” Patton said in the letter.

Patton also directed any health-related questions to the school nurse supervisor, or the Saratoga County Public Health.

Skidmore College has suspended classes until March 22. President of the college Philip A. Glotzbach released a letter Monday in response to the two confirmed cases in Saratoga County. 

“In response to this developing situation, the college has activated our Emergency Management Team, and we have augmented it to create a more focused COVID-19 working group that is meeting daily. We are prepared to implement appropriate responses and take proactive steps, based on guidance and recommendations from city, state, and federal officials. Because this virus is spreading rapidly, we know that now is the best time to put policies in place before it reaches our campus,” Glotzbach stated in the letter.

HOSPITALS:
The Saratoga Hospital now encourages patients who believe they are symptomatic or have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 to call before going to any healthcare locations, according to their website. 

Healthcare professionals will assess symptoms reported and provide additional guidance over the phone. Depending on the severity of the symptoms, you may be directed to a testing site. A healthcare provider or the county health department must order COVID-19 testing. The hospital has also established a COVID-19 response team.

STATEWIDE:
Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Monday that alcohol-based hand sanitizer will be provided to New York free of charge. According to the NYS webpage, the most high-risk communities will be prioritized with the sanitizer. Cuomo also announced he will be working with the New York State Education Department to issue guidance for schools. Schools will close for an initial 24-hour period if a student or staff member tests positivity for COVID-19.

Cuomo also confirmed 37 additional cases of novel coronavirus bringing the statewide total to 142 confirmed cases, according to the New York State website. Of the confirmed cases, the geographic breakdown is as followes: 

• Westchester: 98 (16 new cases)
• New York City: 19 (7 new cases)
• Nassau: 17 (12 new cases)
• Rockland: 4 (2 new cases)
• Saratoga: 2
• Suffolk: 1
• Ulster: 1

On Tuesday, Cuomo announced a “containment” plan for New Rochelle, the city hosting a growing amount of COVID-19 cases for the New York metro area. The plan involves closing schools and other large gathering facilities for two weeks starting on Thursday. Cuomo said business such as grocery stores will remain open.

According to the CDC, the virus first detected in China causes a disease called COVID-19. The COVID-19 may cause mild to severe respiratory symptoms including cough, fever, trouble breathing and pneumonia. Symptoms may appear in two to 14 days after exposure. There is currently no vaccine to prevent the virus but basic precautionary methods are encouraged to help reduce the spread. Basic preventative measures include:

• Washing hands often for at least 20 seconds with soap and water
• Avoid touching eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands
• Avoid close contact with people who are sick
• Stay home if you are sick
• Clean frequently touched objects or surfaces

According to their website, the CDC does not recommend people who are well to wear a facemask but rather be used by people who show symptoms. The goal is to help prevent the spread of disease.

Although health officials are still studying the disease, they believe it is most likely to be spread from person to person by droplets when coughing. 

Thursday, 05 March 2020 13:52

Drawing to Bring Attention to Hungry Kids

BALLSTON SPA — Starting with a stroke of pencil to draw a mandala ends with providing hungry children with up to 26 meals for Betsy Phelps Seplowitz, owner of Nourish Design. 

Seplowitz said she starting drawing mandalas for her own peace of mind and enjoyment. A mandala is defined as a geometric configuration of symbols. This past fall, she published her mandalas on her personal social media account and people responded so positively she wanted to use them to help support meals for kids. Along with drawing mandalas, Seplowitz volunteers to work for the local elementary school backpack program so she tied those two together to create Nourish Design.

“It hit a nerve with me that there are so many children who don’t have consistent access to food at home, so its something that’s been really important to me,” Seplowitz said.

The Feeding America backpack program is run through local food banks to provide bags of food elementary children can take home at the end of each week. Even though children can access free and reduced breakfast and lunch programs during the school day, Seplowitz said children still go home hungry. She said the food bank serves 7000 kids per year, and even though each week they supply a backpack, there are many that are in need.

To get her idea started, Seplowitz met with the food bank to ensure her idea was in-line with what they could do and started researching products to place her mandala designs on. 

“I wanted to source products that people would love… I want people to feel good and remember to take care of themselves and to look at the small things that they can find positivity in,” Seplowitz said. 

In addition to the backpack program, Seplowitz said the food bank is currently expanding a pantry program, which supports middle school and high school students who also have needs.

“Once they leave elementary school there’s not a magic source at food in home so they’re currently expanding this pantry program as well,” Seplowitz said. 

Nourish Design offers t-shirts, tote bags, letterpress notecards, water bottles, kitchen tea towels and most recently baby onesies. Rather than giving a percentage of profits Nourish Design makes, Seplowitz wanted to tie a certain number of meals per product. She said a t-shirt would support 12 meals for kids while a tote bag they sell with leather handles donates 26 meals. The food bank then takes the funding Seplowitz provides and puts it wherever the greatest need is: the backpack program or the pantry program. 

“I hope people help me get my word out and share my mission,” Seplowitz said. “Buy some Nourish gear, wear it and tell the story of it. People tell me that they have others comment on their tote bag and I think it’s great for people not to say ‘oh thanks I love it too,’ but ‘thanks and let me tell you what’s cool about it.’”

Seplowitz said the company officially launched late Nov. 2019 and has raised over 3000 meals to date. 

“The mission really inspires everyone. I’m doing something that I love and I’m having a really big impact on a lot of kids so it kind of comes easy to me. It’s something that I really love doing and the mission is empowering. To think there are little kids that might get a breakfast in the morning that might not otherwise is huge,” Seplowitz said. 

Nourish Design does not currently have a store, but Seplowitz said she has an online website people can purchase her products on. Along with that, she partakes in craft fairs and pop-up shops.

BALLSTON SPA — Mission Electric, a store that specialized in selling electronic bikes, also known as eBikes, announced its opening of a second location.

EBikes are bicycles that are built with an electric motor. Each bike can host a small motor that assists with the rider's pedal power, and up to a larger motor with moped-style functionality.

“Any municipality that has an infrastructure that suffers from too many vehicles can benefit from eBikes. People being able to run errands, commute to work and enjoy fresh air everyday without getting into a car and traffic makes for a better community overall,” said Jim Bethell, manager of Mission Electric.

Mission Electric started in Providence, RI by Saratoga Springs native Tyler Justin in 2018. After becoming established in those two years, Justin announced a second opening for the store in Ballston Spa.

“We here at Mission Electric have always been fans of alternative, sustainable transportation. We want to rethink the way we move around our cities,” Justin said in a release. “We started Mission Electric to bring eBikes and e-transportation to the masses. It’s good for the planet, good for people, and good for our communities. Our mission is to create a greener and healthier world through eBikes.”

The store, located in The Factory at 20 Prospect St, Building 2 Suite 215, Ballston Spa is currently open with limited winter hours. Bethell said for the time being, the store will stay open Wednesday through Saturday and other times by appointment.

“You can haul many things with an eBike Cargo Bike. Groceries, farmers' markets, recycling, trips to the hardware store just to name a few,” said Bethell.

Bethell is a certified Bicycle Technician and is also Bosch eBike certified. The store currently has bikes on display that are available for test rides. Mission Electric features three brands including: Riese & Muller from Germany, Gazelle from the Netherlands and Tern from Southern California. Also available will be Benno and Bulls, which are currently sold in their Rhode Island store.

Each bike will feature Bosch mid-drive motors with a variety of transmission options and accessories to choose from. For more information visit www.missionelectricbike.com.

Thursday, 05 March 2020 13:43

Bringing New Sound to Caroline Street

Remodeled with new sound, lights, floor and seating area, Soundbar hopes to offer a little bit of everything for every visitor and resident of Saratoga. Photos by Opal Jessica Bogdan.

SARATOGA SPRINGS — After remodeling early this year, Soundbar Saratoga has the goal to add to what Caroline St. has to offer.

After being known as The Reserve, Marketing Manager Brian Miller joined forces with Bar Owner Joshua Loucks to redesign the bar. Offering live music and a late happy hour, Miller believes Soundbar offers the best of what’s around.

“My goal is to make everyday like a wedding. Everybody always has fun at weddings,” Miller said. “If you think about it everyone is always excited about weddings, the music is always awesome at a wedding and you come down and you have fun. We want to recreate that every Friday and Saturday.”

The bar opened in February, completely remodeled with new floors, lights, sound system and sitting areas. Miller said they kept ideas such as the bottle service they previously offered. He said live music at an earlier hour is something new to both him and Loucks, but it was something they wanted Soundbar to have. From 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. Soundbar would be a live music venue and offer a happy hour until 8:30 p.m., which Miller thinks is the latest happy hour offered in the area. Soundbar also has a tiki influenced cocktail menu where guests can get drinks like a painkiller, mai tai and other classy cocktails.

“Not only can you come down and see a band at 8 p.m., you can still get some drink specials,” Miller said.

The idea for Soundbar came from Loucks and Miller after they asked their core staff as well as customers what they wanted to see the bar become.

“Up until the middle of December we didn’t know what to do. So we took the best of what’s around,” Miller said. “We’re kind of the best of what’s around. If you want a local pub, we have that upstairs in the Bourbon Room. If you want to do a bigger spectate down here, you can.”

Loucks purchased the Reserve in 2015 and the Bourbon Room in 2016. However, Miller has been marketing for the location since it was known as the Paddock. Miller said Soundbar is the best because the bar can serve multiple functions.

“This bar can be almost anything, it's not really pigeon holed in anything. It looks like a club and has a light show like a club but I can turn the lights up and we could hold a conference down here if you wanted to,” Miller said.

Remodeled with new sound, lights, floor and seating area, Soundbar hopes to offer a little bit of everything for every visitor and resident of Saratoga. Along with live music, Miller hopes to host themed events to go along with the bands they bring in. He said through that, Soundbar won't be just the place to listen to a band and dance, but also offer give- aways, raffles and contests depend- ing on the theme. They also host unique shows. This past month, Soundbar hosted Shake Rattle & Roll Dueling Pianos and plans to bring them back this April.

“To sit down and come up with a theme and watch it develop, this job is a creative output for me,” Miller said. “To work with a bunch of great people and see something develop. Even Soundbar is just an extension of that. Yes, we do a bunch of little events but Soundbar alone...we sat down with a group of people and discussed what we should do.”

Currently, Miller is preparing for the annual LepraCon event this March. The event is in celebration of Saint Patrick’s Day. Donations go to the American Cancer Society and participants can be entered for raffles and prizes. This will be their fifth year participating as a location, but their first year as Soundbar.

“100 percent of the registration fee goes to the Capital District Office for the American Cancer Society. Weather is a key thing for us. It has been very cold and I’m sure a lot of bars know its been really cold. So it’s great to try and do something that gets 400 to 500 people outside and supporting,” Miller said.

Thursday, 05 March 2020 13:24

Sewer Project Backed-Up

BALLSTON — After beginning the Ballston Lake Sewer Project in 2015, Town of Ballston officials hope to start the $17 million construction of the system this spring.

However, attaining a $5 million grant has halted the project until further notice. 

The town received notice about being awarded a $5 million Water Quality Improvement Project (WQIP) grant for the Ballston Lake Sewer project the week of Dec. 16, 2019. On Jan. 3, 2020 the board received a letter from the Director of the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) stating the Office of the State Comptroller (OFC) would review the DEC’s paperwork. Once approved through OFC, the DEC would provide additional information to the Town of Ballston to create the contract. 

“We knew in December that we got the grant. The biggest concern we have is the construction season. Our contractors who have bid have all said they will hold the price until May,” Wes DeVoe, sewer committee member.

After the $5 million grant has been awarded, the board plans to have a $1.8 million contingency. According to the last meeting minutes, Ballston Town Supervisor, Eric Connolly said given the stage of the project that he is comfortable with that contingency.

Project funding was awarded as follows: $2.55 million grant Water Infrastructure Improvement Act (WIIA), $5 million grant WQIP, $7.65 million loan, $2.55 million loan from NYS Environmental Facilities Corporation Additional Funding. Total combined funding to total $17,754,661.

The project construction was approved in October 2015. A resolution was passed in October 2018 that capped what the town could pay at $12.8 million. Originally estimated at $12.5 million, bids for the project first came in at a cost millions higher than anticipated. 

“We chopped it into five pieces and we sent out bids to five companies. Some parts are small and others not so we broke it down that way. So we did get more bids,” DeVoe said. 

DeVoe said the initial bid on the project was around $10 million. The total bids the town has now totals $17 million but the additional $7 million added to the project is from NYS.

“So the dollar that the people voted on does not change or go up. Homeowners around the lake, also known as the sewage district, can expect about $900 in increased taxes,” DeVoe said.

During the February meeting, Drew Hamelink, chairman of the Sewer Committee, said they have received written price locks with the three largest contractors, locking up roughly 93 percent of the project costs through May 1. The remaining contractor gave a lock until Feb 1, which has since been extended by six-weeks.

In 2015 the sewer committee and town board selected Adirondack Mountain Engineering PC to operate as the project-engineering contractor. President of the company, Ed Hernandez did not attend the meeting.

Ballston Lake was added to NYS Priority Water Bodies List in 2012 as an impaired water body. The list defines a water body that cannot support uses. 

As part of the solution to mitigate the impacts to the lake, town officials proposed a goal to construct a sewer collection system for any equivalent dwelling units (EDU) adjacent to the lake including Main Street and Buell Heights. 

EDU are defined as one single-family residential household. There are 700 parcels in total, with a number of the properties adjacent to the lake on the east side lying within the town of Clifton Park. 560 EDU in Ballston and 91 EDU in Clifton Park. 

The Town of Ballston adopted a Sewer Use Law through which all properties located within a set distance of the completed sewer main will be required to connect to the system. DeVoe said any EDU in Clifton Park would not be required to hook into the system but the two towns have been working together. In fact, there are two representatives from the Town of Clifton Park on the Sewer Committee board as well as residents in the sewage district and Ballston Town members.

Each EDU would be responsible for installing a grinder system that could cost the homeowner up to $5,000 for installation. 

“The current cost of the Saratoga County standard is $5,300 list price,” Hamelink said.

However, a sliding scale discount can be put in place that allows a 30 percent discount in the first year that slides back each year by five percent.

The proposed 2015 sewer district included parcels around the lake on the east side from East Side Drive and Schauber Road to Lake Road extending to Eastline Road. On the west side of the lake, it included Westside Drive from Mill Road and Main Street, Glenridge Road, Whites Beach Road, Powers Lane and Outlet Road to a connection point on Lake Road. Also included is Buell Heights neighborhood.

Properties along the lake would utilize a low-pressure force main and would require each service connection to be equipped with the grinder pump station. 

Sewers in the Buell Heights residential subdivision and along Main Street are anticipated to be conventional gravity-type. Wastewater collected in these areas would flow by gravity to a new pump station located on or near Main Street in proximity to the stream. 

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Blotter

  • COURT Adam J. Ross, 38, of Greenfield Center, pleaded Oct. 8 to felony DWI in Saratoga Springs. Sentencing scheduled Dec. 10.  Brandon H. Welfinger, 24, of Malta, was sentenced Oct. 7 to two years state prison, after pleading to criminal sexual act in the third-degree. He was originally charged Dec. 10,2019.  Bruce Stanley, 76, of Halfmoon, pleaded Oct. 5 to sexual abuse in the first-degree. Sentencing scheduled Dec. 7.  POLICE Parvatie Sukhram, 29, of Schenectady, was charged Oct. 16 with three counts of criminal possession of stolen property, and grand larceny – both felonies. She is suspected of the thefts…

Property Transactions

  • BALLSTON Tracine Companion sold property at 30 Beacon St to Letty Rudes for $280,000. Gary Guilfoyle sold property at 738 Goode St to Lance Decker for $325,000. Michael Attanasio sold property at 36 Beacon St to Matthew Eberlein for $269,000. Rachel Schwendinger sold property at 25 Nolan Rd to Michael Dorsher for $308,400. David Barclay sold property at 18 Kingsbridge Ct to Zachary Ellis for $573,000. GALWAY Stephen Raeburn sold property at 4916 Jockey St to David Miller for $432,500. Richard Alkinburgh sold property at 1070 Palmer Rd to Barry Dibernardo for $369,000. Dennis Decker sold property at 5079 Jersey…
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